UCD Smurfit Climbs Up Global MBA Rankings


UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s full-time MBA programme has been ranked 70th (a rise of 9 places) in the world and 22nd in Europe, according to the 2017 Financial Times Full-Time Global MBA Rankings, published today.

The improved ranking comes just three months after UCD College of Business published an ambitious strategy, to which it has committed €65 million, targeting Top 50 Global business school status by 2020 and is a further step to achieving this major milestone.

The Financial Times Full-Time MBA rankings analyse programmes based on several criteria including: career progress; employment success; school and programme quality; faculty research capabilities; and diversity.

Graduates from the Smurfit MBA programme saw their salaries increase by 71% on average within three years of completing the course. Smurfit’s full-time MBA programme was also placed in the top 10 in Europe for value for money and 16th globally.

Consistent with UCD Smurfit School’s mission to be for the world, the Financial Times analysis of the Smurfit MBA also highlighted increased rankings in measures of diversity including female faculty representation and female student participation with rankings of 39th and 44th respectively in the top 100.

Speaking about the rankings, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean, UCD College of Business said: “UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School can be justifiably proud of its record of accomplishment in the FT Full-Time Global MBA Rankings, regarded by the market and peers as one of only a few highly-respected benchmarks of excellence in business education. This consistency puts UCD Smurfit School in a select group of fewer than 50 schools which have attained this accolade for 18 consecutive years. This is a great success and we are determined to do better for our students.

The quality of our research and teaching is a relentless focus at UCD College of Business and requires significant ongoing investment. The additional €65 million of non-exchequer funding committed over the next five years will be key to ensuring all aspects of our mission perform to the highest international standards as we compete with the very best providers of business education in the world.”

Find out more about the MBA programme here.

Avril Donohue ~ MBA Alumni Relations, Communications & Events

Be the CEO of your own career!

Zelia Madigan, MD Ericsson Ireland
Zelia Madigan, MD Ericsson Ireland

‘Be the CEO of your own career’! These were the inspiring words of Zelia Madigan, MD of Ericsson Ireland at a WXN Breakfast Meeting on November 21st (Women’s Executive Network). Although this was a female event, her sage words of advice equally apply to us all.

Zelia’s Top Five Tips on How to Succeed in your Career 

Take Risks – Sometimes we all need to get out of the comfort zone and push ourselves forward. Zelia gave the example of applying for jobs she knew she wouldn’t get, so she’d be seen by the interview panel, meet people she didn’t know and get them talking about her. As Zelia described it, ‘There are several trains leaving the station and you will get on the right one eventually’. Taking on any new job can be a risk and this is why many people choose to stay in roles that they’ve outgrown. However, if the time is right to move on, don’t be afraid to take the risk. If you don’t try it, you will never know! We must learn to adapt to new environments and be confident in ourselves. Treat each obstacle as a challenge to be overcome.

Network – Get Noticed! To get ahead it is vital to be seen, raise your profile and promote yourself (internally & externally).  You might be great at your job and be very task focused, but you need to get noticed! Networking is key and we should all make time for it. Have courage and don’t be afraid to talk to people at events  – don’t wait for people to come to you. Even if you think someone is too important to talk to, the chances are that other feels the same! That person will probably be happy to have someone to talk to! Cultivate your network and seek out sponsors/mentors as they can help to push you forward and act as advocates on your behalf. They can also connect you to other people and get people talking about you. Zelia said that her cultivation of sponsors has been instrumental to her career.

Know Your Self – to be at your best. Find out what you are good at and do that! People excel in what they have a natural tendency towards.

Actively seek feedback and work on it. Zelia said that this was one of the secrets to her success. If she was turned down for a job, she would seek out why and ask what she could do to succeed next time. Spend time working on your areas for development. Embrace the 360 degree review!

Be the CEO of  your career – only you can make it happen! Imagine where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and act on it.

Life is short, so make the most of the time that you have!

Susan Murdock ~ Full-Time MBA Programme Manager

Moving Across the Atlantic for my MBA


When I decided to do my MBA at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, I was excited and naturally a bit apprehensive to leave my comfortable life in Wisconsin to move across the Atlantic to a completely new country. The transition to Ireland was a lot easier than I could’ve imagined. I have moved countries once before and it was much more difficult. Maybe it is easier because I have done it once before, but I think it has more to do with the exceedingly nice Irish people. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and inviting. To me, the people make all the difference, and this experience has proved that to be true.

The structure of the program also helps with meeting everyone in the program. Foundation week has a lot of events that get everyone involved and the Leadership Development Program gets everyone working in various small groups and as one large group so everyone really gets to know each other. Also, the group work that is involved with the various assignments starts very early on which forces interaction with the other members of the program.

The group work is very rewarding and helps with developing the best ideas possible through discussion in a small group. It is not without its challenges, but the various workshops assist in team dynamic development. The group work was difficult in the beginning getting used to all the different work styles of the various members of the program, but it definitely does improve drastically and quickly over time if it is worked on and the rewards from efficient group work is worth all the effort.

David Camp ~ Full-Time MBA

International Women’s Day 2015


We’re all members of the MBA family but we’re also supporters of women and their achievements. Last month, we celebrated those achievements and helped raise awareness of the issue of equality by wearing purple to the classroom. Purple symbolises justice and dignity, two values strongly associated with women’s equality. Thanks to all who took part – #makeithappen

Lindsey Nguyen ~ Full Time MBA

Conscience as a Business Tool

It’s strange, even unnerving, to hear a CEO speak about society, about community, about the need to do not just what is profitable, but what is right. Last week our EMBA class heard from Niall Fitzgerald, former CEO of Unilever and corporate success par excellence, on how modern capitalism was failing because of a fundamental lack of values – and perhaps even a lack of morals.

The title of his address, “You Can’t Have Successful Business in a Broken Society,” invited a certain level of skepticism among some of my more cynical classmates. I think it’s fair to say that most of us would see a certain degree of truth in the tired cliché, “nice guys finish last,” and that few would feel the modern corporate environment is a warm, fuzzy place where everyone just tries to be friendly and get along. But I would be confident that Mr. Fitzgerald’s central point reached even my most jaded colleagues – it’s not a question of whether businesses should be more ethical, but that they must be more ethical in order to survive.

In this globalised world, short term approaches to growing profits, using resources or managing workers will simply no longer work, we were told. Gouging customers will merely open opportunities to more reasonable competitors. Today’s factory workers in low-cost economies are also the consumer class of tomorrow’s growth markets. And as for reckless exploitation of the environment – if China’s population were to reach a Western standard of living at today’s rate of resource usage, we will need nine more Earths to meet this demand. Clearly, if a business (never mind humanity) is to survive in the 21st Century, a long-term approach is needed.

Having listened to Mr. Fitzgerald’s address, I don’t think any of my classmates can now doubt his central point. If anything, I think, his cornerstone argument in favour of a long-term, responsible approach to the challenges of the modern era needs to be widened beyond business, to encompass society as a whole. After all, during the boom period in Ireland until 2007, the very banks who are now pilloried for being reckless were being criticised for not giving out enough mortgages. Undoubtedly, business in the West needs to take a good long look at itself. But the same might be said of society in general.

Eoin McDonnell

EMBA 2015


Vietnam Culture Night Part 2

Michael Smurfit Business School provides not only an excellent academic background but is also very culturally diverse. In the college, we have good opportunities to explore different cultures from many international student communities.

Tết or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration of Vietnamese culture. On the first day of the first month of the Vietnamese calendar, we, Vietnamese students at Michael Smurfit Business School, successfully organized the special event called “Vietnam Cultural Night”. The main purpose of the event was to introduce Vietnamese culture and promote “Only rice is not enough,” a charity program that raises funds to provide food and cooking services in elementary schools of poor highland mountain regions.

During the event, guests were served different kinds of Vietnamese traditional foods. Some highlights of Vietnamese cultural activities that happen during Tet through the traditional costume shows, traditional dances and music provide the insights about Vietnam. The most interesting activity was the Kid Corner which enabled Vietnamese adopted children to understand about their original point. The event is one of the most meaningful activities during our one year in the Smurfit Business School.

Ba Nguyen

Full-time MBA 2014


UCD Smurfit Rugby Club Fundraising Dinner

Former Minister Dick Spring Speaking at the Event

Last Friday night, February 7th, saw the Pillar Room in the Rotunda Hospital come alive for the UCD Smurfit Rugby Football Club Fundraising Dinner and Auction. This event was hosted by the organising committee of the Club from the full-time MBA class of 2013/14. Former Minister Dick Spring and Kingsley Aikens, formerly of the Ireland Funds, were special guests at the event and provided insightful and extremely entertaining accounts of their memories and experiences in the Rugby arena. Minister Michael Noonan was also in attendance to support the event along with MBA Alumni and friends of the MBA.

A great night was had by all and valuable funds have been raised for the 34th Annual MBA Rugby World Cup Championship which will take place in Danville VA from April 11th – 13th 2014. A group of our MBA students will aim to defend the title for the 12th time! Watch this space!

Organising Committee
Former Minister Dick Spring (L) & Kingsley Aikens (C-R) with MBA students, Jim Radmore (C-L) & Michael Noonan (R)

Vietnam Culture Night

Let’s remember and be proud of yourself and your ethnic identity. We often feel lost in a complex and large world. However, you will feel consoled if you have a knowledgeable background of your ethnic cultural heritage. It gives you a historical root, a sense of your place in the present and a unique permanent though this world is always changing.

– Le Hong Diem, MSc Strategic Management & Planning, UCD Smurfit

Traditional Costume “Ao dai” Performance

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, though living far away from home, Vietnamese MBA students in Dublin were involved in organizing a successfully special and meaningful event – Vietnam Culture Night. The event’s purpose, along with introducing and promoting Vietnamese culture, was to raise funds to support poor children in mountainous areas of Vietnam through the programme, “Only rice is not enough.” The event attracted more than 400 international friends, expatriates and Vietnamese students in Ireland.

Guests attending the event enjoyed the traditional foods of Vietnam such as Gac sticky rice, spring rolls, salt roasted chicken, Vietnamese salad, and a traditional five fruits tray garnished with apricot, peach blossom and Lunar New Year calligraphy. The entire space of the event was decorated with red and yellow symbolizing “luck” and “prosperity”. International friends were excited to take memorial pictures in Vietnamese Tet space and enthusiastic to participate in quizzes about Tet traditions in Vietnam.

I want to send best wishes to the MBA program staffs and my classmates in the new year!

Chuc mung nam moi!

Happy Lunar New Year 2014!

Hung Nguyen

FTMBA 2014


Pressure is a Privilege

So the 6 Nations Championship is upon us. For the majority of rugby fans in this part of the world, it is a fascinating and gruelling six weeks of international rugby. For those lucky few who take part in the tournament and represent their families, counties, provinces and countries, it is both physically and mentally draining. During the build up to this year’s tournament, I came upon a phrase that has been recycled from the former tennis champion, Billie Jean King. Pressure is a privilege. In a sports context this is quite an easy, logical progression. The privilege to represent your country obviously comes with significant pressure. If it’s ever forgotten by an international sports person, it is a privilege that those around them will quickly remind the athlete of. At this stage, it may seem odd as to what, if anything, this has to do with the journey through an MBA. If the reader is considering this, I strongly suggest a brief reflection on what ‘pressure is privilege’ means to you.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the bubble of completing an MBA. All the assignments, leadership development, careers and networking events can very quickly distort the wider picture and impact personal motivation. The privilege of being amongst a small band of individuals going through this journey comes with pressure. Being successful in our future careers and achieving everything we want to achieve will be a privilege. It will bring with it significant pressure. In order to reach the heights we are being prepared for throughout the course, we have to prove competence under pressure. This connection can be forgotten during the long and dark winter months as we slog through another case study or number crunching exercise.

Pressure in business should not be lonesome. At every stage there will be the support of highly talented teammates. In the sporting context, pulling everyone together onto the same page and pulling for the same cause, taking on the same pressure, is critical to success. The Smurfit MBA provides fertile ground for the individual to acquire the tools with which to succeed in this way. The focus on teamwork, pulling disparate styles and philosophies together and communicating at every stage is very similar to putting together a strong performance on the rugby pitch. Business can take a lot of the successes from sportspeople and learn significantly from them. ‘Pressure is Privilege’ should be just the beginning.

James Radmore – MBA Rugby Captain

FTMBA 2014

United Kingdom

A deserved break for Ireland or a false dawn?

The announcement , or ‘noting’ in the case of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, of a satisfactory conclusion to the technical discussions between the Irish government and the European Central Bank on the infamous promissory notes issued by the Irish state to cover the future liabilities of the former Anglo-Irish Bank has to broadly welcomed. However, the debate is in full swing about the perceived benefits that will accrue to the state as a result. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s assertion that the state will save €20 billion over the lifetime of the arrangement until the new bonds mature are predicated on a number of assumptions. Obviously, inflation and interest rates will affect the value of the bonds over that time period as well as economic growth projections.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and it was wholly unrealistic to expect that this debt would be expunged, essentially transferring the cost to others. Proportionate burden sharing was clearly the only show in town and just as the Irish public has been justifiably angry by the burden of bank debt imposed on it, the other 99% of European Union citizens would be fairly enraged by completing having to cover debts incurred here in Ireland. The devil will be in the detail of this agreement to estimate the savings and benefits for Ireland.

Despite the ambiguity over the numbers, the external stakeholders and players in Irish economic affairs believe this to be a good deal, with Irish long-term bond yields plummeting last week to levels not seen since 2007. The consensus is that at least Irish public debt situation will not get worse and may be possibly more sustainable, particularly if European and global economic growth returns.  However, this is only one side of Ireland’s debt mountain, the other side being the level of private debt that has been incurred by every man, women and child in the state. This will also need to be tackled and unfortunately, macroeconomic factors such as low growth and high unemployment are not favouring any efforts to address this as many struggle to meet mortgage repayment and other obligations. Hopefully the new personal insolvency arrangements introduced by the Irish government will start to bear fruit over the next 2-3 years but a combination of debt restructuring and debt write-offs will be needed as well as increased employment to start to significantly eat into Irish private sector debt.

Cathal O'Ceallaigh

– Cathal O’Ceallaigh, FT MBA 2012/13